The People in your Neighborhood

*Cantando/Singing* (in my Elmo meets Abby Cadabby & Zoe muppet voice):

Oh who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
Say, who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day

If you could make it past that imagined cacophony, then a hearty congratulations are in order.  Cue the imagined sound of a round of applause.

Psst…In case you didn’t notice, Sesame Street has been the inspiration for this week’s post.

It started about mid-week when I began thinking about what I would blog about.  Usually, I write about recurrent themes, topics or ideas that consistently pop in and out of my life over the course of a week or simply things that I think would be interesting to blab….em, I mean, blog about….

Now, I’m a child of the 80s (#Team80srocks!), and, like most of us, I was a Sesame Street aficionado.  Still am to this day actually.  And all this week, themes of neighborhood and community kept popping up everywhere.  And what better song than this one would get stuck in my head than Who are the People in Your Neighborhood?

As I hummed and discreetly sang the song to myself in my head,  (Wouldn’t want other people to have to suffer.  Nothing worse than having a Sesame Street song stuck in your head), I thought about the love/hate relationship that I have with my own neighborhood/community.

Living life in the middle of nowhere can be stifling to say the least.  In short, let’s just say that I’m a big city Eastern seaboard girl living in a southern state in rural America, which sucks royally at times! To add another dimension to the suckiness factor, I am also a doctoral student.

Those of you who have been or who are going through the process, I need not explain.  Those of you who haven’t, count your lucky stars.  I can only describe it as Boot Camp for the Mind complete with every -ism you can imagine (nepotism, intellecualism, sexism, boringism, lack of funism, etc….).  Oh and don’t forget the dash of departmental politics. [Cue imaginary sound of gagging here if you haven’t started to gag already]

At times, it’s tolerable.  At times, it feels utterly hopeless.  But, thanks to my pals and their lyrical genius over at Sesame Street, I’m reminded of the importance of neighborhood and community.

My point is that sometimes we focus all our energy and efforts on only one part of our neighborhood.  I hear it all the time in my program.  And I too am a repeat offender/complainer.  Stop me if you heard these ones:

  • “My advisor isn’t ____ (fill in the blank: helping/responding/guiding)”
  • No one is doing the research that I want to do
  • The people in my cohort is just in it for themselves.  No one wants to collaborate.
  • Why did I come HERE??!!  I could have been in ______ (in my case: Boston or NYC)

It’s easy to forget that our “neighborhood” isn’t just the block we live on.  It’s much bigger than that.  Basically, there’s a whole community out there.

It’s the street next to you.  It’s the department that you never thought would have anything of interest to you.  There are people outside of your “neighborhood” that you’ve met or who you can meet who can play the role of the banker, the postman, the advisor, the mayor etc…

Take it a step further, and there are other worlds out there for us to explore.  That means, if we allow ourselves to think that far, there is more access other universities, other jobs, more colleagues to collaborate with, etc…

Whether you’re a doc student or simply just going through a hard time at work or life, the challenge becomes a little easier then to manage when you think of things this way.  As the song seems to suggest (or perhaps my esoteric interpretation), figuring out who are the people in your neighborhood can give YOU the upper hand in the battle.

So I’ll wrap up in the same way I started:  *Cantando/Singing* (in my Elmo meets Abby Cadabby & Zoe muppet voice):

Oh who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
Say, who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day

This entry was published on February 4, 2012 at 11:31 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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